A woman walking through the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco two nights ago was approached by a man who made sexually explicit comments/propositioned her. She rejected him and in response, he slashed her face and stabbed her in the arm! She escaped and called the police and she’s being treated for her injuries at a hospital. Thankfully, her life is not in danger.
Police report: “The suspect, who remains at large, was described as a black man between 30 and 45 years old who is about 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs roughly 190 pounds. He is bald and was last seen wearing a black T-shirt and faded blue jeans, possibly with “FUBU” on the pants. Anyone with information about the attack is encouraged to call the Police Department’s anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or to send a tip by text message to TIP411.”
Street harassment is a form of sexual terrorism because we never know when it might happen, by whom, or how far it may escalate.
Women never know which of the guys who make sexually explicit comments are the ones who will leave us alone/stop harassing us if we tell them to stop and which guys will become violent and physically hurt us.
Some men who are harassers will justify their behavior by saying things like, “Most women like it, they smile at me or say thank you.”
A thank you or a smile doesn’t mean women like what’s happening; more often, it means they’re trying to stay safe in a potentially unsafe situation by appeasing their harasser, hoping he won’t escalate or lash out.
Because individuals never know what a harasser may do, it is really hard to know how to respond. Practicing a range of responses is the best suggestion I can give and in the moment of harassment, hopefully one of the responses will work and feel empowering.
I think that organizing community responses, being active bystanders, and raising men’s awareness about street harassment are tactics that are going to create the most lasting change while also keeping women safe.Share on Facebook